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English Education, Vol. 45, No. 3, April 2013

Cover Art for English Education, Vol. 45, No. 3, April 2013

Table of Contents

  • Opening the Conversation: Thinking Deeper about Text Selection [FREE ACCESS]

    Leslie S. Rush, Lisa Scherff , and Christine Maddox Martorana

    Abstract: Editors Leslie Rush and Lisa Scherff, along with graduate student Christine Maddox Martorana, discuss issues related to text selection and introduce the articles in this issue.

  • Supernovas and Superheroes: Examining Unfamiliar Genres and Teachers’ Pedagogical Content Knowledge [FREE ACCESS]

    Erinn Bentley

    Abstract: Within the field of writing teacher education, scholars and practitioners agree that effective writing instructors (at both the P–12 and postsecondary levels) are not simply cognizant of composition pedagogies, rhetorical theories, and their students’ unique learning needs. Effective writing instructors also regularly participate—themselves—in the practice of writing. As Tom Romano (2007) explains, “Those who teach a craft ought to do a craft. When teachers of writing write, particularly in the genres they teach, they develop their insider knowledge” (p. 171). Realistically, many inservice English language arts teachers do not have an extensive amount of time to write, reflect on their writing, and translate their “insider knowledge” into pedagogical practices. One place where this type of writing-teaching reflection and development may occur, however, is in the postsecondary classroom. This article describes a graduate-level methods course, in which middle-grades and secondary-level ELA teachers completed two projects focused on analyzing, composing, and teaching an unfamiliar genre. This study extends current research regarding the use of unfamiliar genres to improve students’ writing proficiencies (Bastian, 2010; Beckelhimer, 2011; Fleischer & Andrew-Vaughan, 2006, 2009) by adapting these projects to a new group of writers: inservice ELA teachers. Using a qualitative research design, this study draws upon Grossman’s (1990) theoretical framework, and pedagogical content knowledge to name and define four specific ways in which the course’s unfamiliar genre projects promoted teachers’ “insider knowledge” as writers, thus affecting their beliefs and practices for teaching writing.

  • Urban Fiction and Multicultural Literature as Transformative Tools for Preparing English Teachers for Diverse Classrooms

    Marcelle Haddix and Detra Price-Dennis

    Abstract: Discussions of urban fiction and multicultural literature hold great potential for transforming the practice of beginning English teachers in diverse school settings. In this article, the authors,both teacher educators of color, present two case studies of preparing middle- and secondary-level English educators from a diversities perspective. Given continued conversations in the field of English education on how to best prepare new teachers for working effectively with diverse student populations, the authors present situated representations of how teachers’ critical encounters with literature can shape their learning to teach processes from the university classroom to their field experiences. Both case studies presented have a particular interest in the critical theoretical and pedagogical insights developed by preservice teachers through their discussions of children’s and adolescent literature that deals with diverse, urban, and multicultural perspectives. In doing so, these case studies reposition urban fiction and multicultural literature as transformative tools for teacher education curriculum.

  • Extending the Conversation: The Ethics of Teaching Disturbing Pasts: Reader Response, Historical Contextualization, and Rhetorical (Con)Textualization of Holocaust Texts in English

    Mary M. Juzwik

    Abstract: A set of especially complicated ethical relationships becomes visible in literary study when the unspeakable atrocity of state-sponsored genocide is part of the story, as it is in many wartime texts taught in secondary English classrooms. What then is the nature of an English teacher’s obligation to the detailed particularity of the past and to those who endured that past whenencouraging students’ individual and collaborative responses to texts in the present (or in the future)? I explore the broad ethical question by discussing specific difficulties presented by the case of Holocaust pedagogy. The guiding purpose of the discussion is to explore a set of more general questions about the ethical dimensions of literary engagement in English—and specifically engagement with texts about disturbing pasts.

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* Journal articles are provided in PDF format and can be opened using the free Adobe® Reader® program or a comparable viewer. Click here to download and install the most recent version of Adobe Reader.

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